Skip to comments.Carter to visit Cuba; he'll be 1st ex-president there since '59
Posted on 03/23/2002 5:37:38 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
Jimmy Carter said Friday that he will travel to Cuba sometime this year -- a trip that would make him the highest-ranking former U.S. official to have visited the island since Fidel Castro seized power in 1959.
''We are making plans now and, as we have said, we have been invited to go to Cuba and we intend to go,'' Carter said during an interview with CNN. ``But I'm not prepared at this point to give our goals and the names of people that will go or when we will go because we haven't really made those plans yet.''
The trip could have significant impact on U.S. policy at a time when the Bush administration is under increasing pressure to shift strategies and open up to the Castro regime. While many members of Congress have visited the islands, Carter would be the first former president to travel there since the Cuban revolution.
Carter told CNN that the Bush administration may not like the fact that he's going but likely won't stand in the way. ''I expect to get their tacit approval, not their blessing,'' he said. ``We can't go, obviously, without the permission of the government. My understanding is that they will give that approval.''
Cuban Americans reacted swiftly to Carter's announcement.
Joe Garcia, executive director of the Cuban American National Foundation, said his organization welcomes the trip -- if Carter intends to tell Castro to leave power.
Garcia said, however, that if Carter intends to promote better relations with Castro, the influential exile organization would oppose the trip.
''If he is going the way he went to Haiti [in 1994] to tell [Haitian military leader] Gen. Raoul Cedras to leave, then we welcome his trip to Cuba if he is going to tell Fidel Castro to leave,'' Garcia said. ``However, if he's going to give legitimacy to a 43-year-old dictatorship, then I think it would be unfortunate.''
While Carter declined to outline his objectives in Cuba, he indicated to CNN's Judy Woodruff that his intention was to improve relations between Cuba and the United States -- not to deliver an ultimatum to Castro.
Carter indicated support for easing the embargo and allowing U.S. citizens to travel freely to the island, though he spoke strongly in favor of democracy on the island.
VISION FOR ISLAND
''As you probably would remember, when I was president, I departed from my predecessors and unfortunately my successors, in lifting all travel restraints on American citizens to go to Cuba almost immediately when I was president within a few weeks,'' Carter said.
``And I also established interests sections, which is one step short of full diplomatic relationships between Havana and Washington. And those interest sections with staffs representing our countries have never been closed.
``So I think the best way to bring about democratic changes in Cuba is obviously to have maximum commerce and trade and visitation by Americans and others who know freedom and to let the Cuban people know the advantages of freedom. That's the best way to bring about change and not to punish the Cuban people themselves by imposing an embargo on them, which makes Castro seem to be a hero because he is defending his own people against the abuse of Americans.''
Jeff Jacoby's three part series on Cuba "A walk in Havana" - "Keeping hope, conscience alive in Cuba" - "The US embargo and Cuba's future"--[Excerpt] And make no mistake: Doing business with Cuba means doing business with Castro. There is no private property in Cuba, no private enterprise, no private employers. Foreign investors must deal with the government. They cannot hire Cuban workers directly; a government agency chooses their workers for them. The investors pay Castro - in hard currency - for each worker; Castro in turn pays the workers a fraction of that amount - in all-but-worthless pesos.
So long as Cuba's dictator maintains his stranglehold on every aspect of Cuban life, ending the embargo would be counterproductive. It would do nothing to end the far more restrictive embargo that Castro imposes on the Cuban nation. It would give him the propaganda victory and the US dollars he craves, but it would do little to bring liberty or hope to ordinary Cuban citizens.
Every president since JFK has extended the Cuban embargo; to lift it in exchange for nothing - no free elections, no civil liberties - would be a betrayal of the very people we want to help. ''Tiende tu mano a Cuba,'' says Paya when I ask what he thinks of American policy, ''pero primero pide que le desaten las manos a los cubanos.'' Extend your hands to Cuba - but first unshackle ours.[End Excerpt]
Showdown over U.S. Cuba policy nears(President Bush, Otto Reich and Sally Grooms Cowal)
Well I can dream can't I
Every time Jimmy Peanuts opens his mouth, I remember another reason I voted for Ford.
Carter and Klintoon just can't resist working against American interests abroad. They are both devious, egotistical butterfly-net cases. Only garlic, wolfbane, a crucifixes and silver stakes would work on these dark-side personalities.
Maybe Jimmy will take his buddy Dan Rathernot with him.
On another note, when is Fidel going to die? Old age, a stroke, or cancer. No, I prefer lead poisoning and soon.
The nice thing is that we can learn from our mistakes. I've never voted for another Democrat for President.
Jimmy Carter was a pathetic President. He'd make a fine bleeding heart social worker, or a full-time worker for Habitat for Humanity. But he needs to stay the hell out of American foreign policy. He's thoroughly messed it up every time he's touched it.
From that point on it was all down hill.
His brother took a leak on the grass, but Jimmah continues to piss on all of us.
Never trust a man who's eyebrows do strange things when they speak.
Now; to find a way to keep him there.
...& here you wanted to get rid of Fidel; geshhhh.
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